Saturday 21 July National landmarks across the world are set to turn red in a global display of unity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics.
The Sky Tower in Auckland will be one of 70 international landmarks including the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye and Niagara Falls, turning red for the global celebration.
Special Olympics provides a year-round programme of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In New Zealand, more than 7000 athletes throughout the country train and compete in 13 different Olympic-type summer and winter sports.
Special Olympics New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Young says the celebration marks 50 years since the first Special Olympics World Games was held in Chicago. “What Special Olympics has achieved internationally in 50 years has been huge for people with intellectually disabilities. As well as providing them with opportunities to compete against their peers both locally and internationally, the work that has been done to promote inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities has been remarkable,” she says.
“We are grateful that one of New Zealand’s iconic landmarks has got on board to help us celebrate while our international counterparts mark the occasion all around the world.”
As part of the 50th birthday celebrations there will also be a Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) held in central Auckland which will see Police and other law enforcement professionals, including Auckland City Police District Commander Karyn Malthus, walking alongside Special Olympics athletes to raise awareness.
Similar in style to the Olympic torch relay, the LETR is a series of relays and fundraising events that raise awareness and money for the Special Olympics movement. Globally more than 90,000 police professionals and supporters across 35 countries participate in Law Enforcement Torch runs.